Web Desk (July 31, 2017): Sam Shepard , the multi-talented, the celebrated avant-garde playwright and Oscar-nominated actor, died on Thursday at his home in Kentucky.
A spokesman for the Shepard family said the cause was complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Shepard, who wrote nearly 50 plays, won the Pulitzer for drama in 1979 for his play “Buried Child” and was nominated for an Academy Award in 1984 for best actor in a supporting role for “The Right Stuff.”
One of his most recent roles was in the Netflix television series “Bloodline.”
Shepard was with his family at the time of his death. Funeral arrangements remain private, and plans for a public memorial have not yet been determined.
He was widely regarded as one of the most original voices of his generation, winning praise from critics for his searing portraits of spouses, siblings and lovers struggling with issues of identity, failure and the fleeting nature of the American dream. He was nominated for two other Pulitzers, for “True West” and “Fool for Love,” which both received Broadway productions.
His long career saw him work – with equal acclaim – as playwright, director, and actor; he was both a 1979 Pulitzer Prize winner for Drama, for his play Buried Child, and an Academy Award nominee for Best Supporting Actor for playing pilot Chuck Yeager in 1983’s The Right Stuff.
His writing career saw him pen 44 plays as well as several books of short stories, essays and memoirs. Some notable works include his Family Trilogy – which includes Curse of the Starving Class (1976), Buried Child and True West (1980) – as well as Fool for Love (1983) and A Lie of the Mind (1985), sometimes included with the trilogy to form a quintet of esteemed works.
Born in Fort Sheridan, Illinois in 1943, Shepard was the son of a teacher mother and Army officer father, who was a bomber pilot during World War II.